Stay active

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By Bob Mueller

I am an extrovert and I love to ask people questions.  As people are leaving a movie, I will ask them how they liked the movie.  If I am at a wedding, I will ask couples of many years together: “What’s the secret of a good marriage?”  When I am talking to people in their 80’s and above, I like to ask them: “What’s the secret of life?”  I invariably get two answers, “Genes” or “Stay as active as you can.”

So many people sleepwalk through life, mindlessly doing mundane things without being enthusiastic.  Children are enthusiastic while many adults tend to get bogged down and lose the vital energy of enthusiasm.  When we passionately pay attention to what interests us, we can be enthusiastic about hundreds of different things in our life, from dancing to eating a delicious meal, to waterskiing, singing or teaching.

We can teach ourselves how to live exuberantly now, right in the heart of this moment.  When we nourish each fresh experience, we have all our juices flowing and there is never a dull moment.

Whatever you are excited about will increase your vitality.  Enthusiastic people tend to be optimists and avoid becoming cynical.  Together we should try to let our love of life shine through everything we think, all our ideas, our words and our actions.  The word enthusiasm is from the Greek enthousiasmos, rooted in entheos, meaning inspired, or having the god within.

The way to increase our energy is to find lots and lots of things to be enthusiastic about.  Whether it is a clean house, a freshly stocked refrigerator, or a newly mowed lawn, there are opportunities everywhere for us to become excited and thoroughly enjoy what we choose to do.

Enthusiasm is an internal emotional state.  Give each moment your undivided attention, and you will feel the intense excitement of being alive.  Refuse to take this miracle of the gift of life for granted.  The world owes us nothing.  We’re here to play our part, and if Emerson was right that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, then our life, moment to moment, should be a tribute to the potential to make small moments great and link them together, one after another, throughout all our days and nights.

A smile, good eye contact, a pat on the shoulder, an inquiry about someone’s new home, asking how the applications are coming along for a new position, trying to remember the new waiter’s name, being fully present, listening well – these small gestures of caring are magical when they become a habit, a happy continuing experience.  An inquiry about someone’s day, asking questions about their interests, remembering to ask about a movie a friend saw or to ask how a dinner party turned out sweetens life.  Spreading positive energy toward others is always the appropriate thing to do.  When we sincerely care about others, it is easy to think of things that will uplift them.  When we affirm and confirm our own life, as well as the lives of the people we’re in contact with regularly, the atmosphere is one of progress and acceptance.  Good feelings are great energy boosters.

Whether we are graceful, awkward, romantic or pedestrian, if we give energy, we will get energy as though supplied with an electric current.  There is nothing better to boost our spirits than to get going, to move about.  We should be mindful of our energy boosts when we do what has to be done.  As we move our feet, breathing deeply, we expand our awareness of what it means to be alive.

Sir Thomas Moore said: “We are a society that finds it difficult to discover the exuberant joy and spontaneity of childhood.”  When we decide what we want to do with our life, and move in the direction of our goals, when we challenge ourselves to personal growth as a regular discipline, we put everything we have into everything we do.  That is what invigorates us.

I believe in what Christopher Reeve said, “The more I do, the more I can do.”  Stay active.  It will lead to a long and happy life.






Bob Mueller is the Vice President of Development for Hosparus and a guest columnist for The Oldham Era. For more, visit bobmueller.org.